A great-grandmother has been ordered to wear an electronic tag for breaching new animal welfare laws by selling a goldfish to a 14 year-old boy.
Joan Higgins, a pet shop owner, was caught selling the fish to the teenager in a 'sting' operation by council officials. She was then prosecuted in an eight month court process estimated to have cost the taxpayer more than £20,000.
Under new animal welfare laws, passed in 2006, it is it illegal to sell goldfish to under 16s. Offenders can be punished with up to 12 months in prison.
Mrs Higgins, 66, who thought the boy was much older than 14, escaped jail but was instead ordered to wear an electronic tag and given a night time curfew. She was also fined £1,000 by Trafford Magistrates Court.
Her son Mark Higgins, who was also proscecuted in connection with the case, described the treatment of his mother as a "farce" and "legal lunacy". He said the punishment she had received would prevent her from attending her weekly bingo sessions as well [as] babysitting her one month-old great grandchild.